An Afternoon’s Delight

I spent a delightful afternoon at a private, mini piano performance by Singapore pianist Victor Khor, thanks to a friend’s invitation. There were only about half a dozen of us, including a pre-schooler.

Victor started with Chopin’s Nocturne Op 9 No 2. He first performed it on a Yamaha Upright U1PE, then on another upright YUS5 PE and finally on the baby grand CIX PE. All models are available in Silent Piano. Victor then proeceeded to explain the features of each piano.

As neither I nor anyone else have further questions, Victor continued to perform a few other pieces to demonstrate the quality of the pianos he played on. This is the part I enjoyed best, and each piece is more interesting than the previous one:

  • Dvorak’s Songs My Mother Taught Me (the special arrangement by international pianist Stephen Hough and Victor’s longtime friend, and dedicated to Victor in 2011, and published in a collection called ‘Tributes’);
  • Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence;
  • Albeniz’s Tango in D.

Victor also invited the audience to play a duet with him, and only two youths took up the offer. It would have been quite an experience to play with a concert pianist, but neither my friend nor I was confident enough to do that.

All in all, it was a pleasant way to spend a blistering afternoon – a cool, cosy, intimate venue with lovely music from a great performer!



Your explanation is like

a Korean drama –

once romantic and touching.

It’s as though love is thick like

any hard liqour –

and its aftermath is sad.

My eyes say you’re not worthy

and pride says I won’t

see who’s there behind the tears.

The shadows tell me it’s real –

though there are regrets,

it’s time to be very frank.

I close my eyes and am hurt

by hypocricy,

like a rose that’s discarded.

Coping and Overcoming Life Stressors 4

This afternoon’s session is the last in this series. We concentrate on the Congruent Stance of the Satir Model, in relation to the four Coping Stances covered in the first session (on 2 June 2017).

  • Behaviour – this person is always vibrant and energetic, confident and competent, loving and balanced;
  • Speech – honest with feelings, thoughts, expectations and wants, open and sharing, listens to others;
  • Emotion – also known as the Dominant Effect, this is the level at which one is peaceful, calm and loving, always smiling and curious;
  • Resources – there is self-awareness in the person, responsible, caring and connected to self and others;
  • Physical  & Psychological Symptoms very healthy.

If we can reach the stage of Congruent as a person, we can manage and overcome our stress. There’s always this tension in life but it will not turn into a strain or chronic stress. Going through this process, we need to not only appreciate ourselves but also others. Life is more complex than what we think, so sometimes we need the other four Stances to help us cope.

In working towards Congruent, we need to

  • Focus on Self – attend to our body signals, breathe to become calm, confirm our self-worth & become centred and aware;
  • Make Contact with Others – see & hear, attend to body, show respect and accept & trust;
  • Change Within the Context – change ‘the problem’ to coping, deal with feelings, reframe preceptions, set realistic expectations, and increase choices and possibilities.

At the same time, we need to refer to the Iceberg Diagram (covered during the sessions on 9 & 16 June) and the building blocks for self-esteem (covered on 16 June) so that we have good ingredients that help us grow up properly at both the emotional and physical levels. It is very, very important to nurture Self, as nobody else can do that for us. We have to value, love and appreciate Self so that life and energy, personality, intuition, creativity and the way we relate to people will be in harmony.

It is very hard to change others, therefore we must change ourselves. Using the Iceberg metaphor, we must be aware and understand what’s going on underneath, and have a full awareness of ourselves, deep inside, the internal and psychic.

If we can’t change ourselves, it means we can’t let go of certain things. So we have to go back to the Needs. What is holding us back? What about our blind spots? Can we accept that feedback? We need to ask ourselves why, and if we are aware of the reasons. If we are ready, then we should accept what will help and discard the rest (and this requires our wisdom to do). Then we go back to Self.

Taking care of Self is not selfish; it is Self-Care. We must realise that inner healing and psychology must work hand-in-hand. Instead of avoiding it, we must deal with it so that we will be at peace with ourselves. The question is whether we can do this without help.

The fact is: when we want to deal with something, we can’t do it ourselves. It has to involve others. The four Coping Stances and circumstances also make a difference. Can we love ourselves? We are created for relationship with people! Everyone has his own Iceberg, so how do we connect with another person? Often, we connect at the Behaviour level, and that is where a lot of problems surface. We need to connect at the Needs level. We need to appreciate ourselves. Communication is important to let others be aware of our needs. It is important to understand each others’ needs in order to address a more basic need.

Satir believes that everybody has the potential to grow. We can use the frame to guide us; to anchor our thoughts and feelings so that we are not all over the place. A problem is not the problem; the problem is the way we manage the problem. When we have a problem, we can try to cope with it using one of the four Stances.

Ms Abby, the facilitator, uses many case studies to illustrate the Satir model and the Iceberg metaphor. Her analysis and explanation is very clear and impressive. She displays great patience and empathy too. I look forward to participating in another course facilitated by her.


This 2016 movie is based on true events. It stars Rebecca Hall as Christine Chubbuck, a reporter from WZRB station in Sarasota, Florida in 1974. Christine is ambitious and wants badly to be promoted; at the same time, she is also facing challenges in her home life (relationship with her mother, Peg – played by J. Smith-Cameron), personal issues and health scares.

An aspiring newswoman with an interest in social justice, she is constantly butting heads with her superior, Mike (Tracy Letts), who pushes for jucier stories that will drive up ratings. (She does “issue-oriented, or character-based pieces”, not “demeaning, fender-bender reporting” like car accidents and pileups. But Mike believes, “If it bleeds, it leads”.)

Another station from Baltimore, headed by Bob Anderson (John Cullum), is here to “poach” some of the staff. Christine is being passed over for the weather report girl and the news anchor, George (Michael C. Hall). George’s offer of friendship is misinterpreted, and Christine is disillusioned once again.

At every stage of the story, there is music or songs that appropriately reflect the mood: for eg, when Christine is driving to the Pediatric ward for volunteer work, the song she sings along with the car speakers is John Denver’s Annie’s Song; when Christine is making a To-Do-List, the song played is Boyce & Hart’s I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight; at a July 4 company party, the song played is George McCrae’s Rock You Baby; when Christine is playing pool with George after dinner, the song is Sonny & Cher’s Leaving It All Up To You; when Christine leaves the doctor’s office to go to work, the song played is Alive & Kickin’s Tighter, Tighter; after an argument, Christine tries to gain equilibrium to Olivia Newton-John’s Everything’s Too Much; after Christine’s meeting with a counsellor, the song is Tommy Jones’ Sweet Cherry Wine…

I find the final scene the most effective. There is obviously a lot of cheoreography and special effects for it to achieve the level of intensity and surprise. While reporting the news live,  the studio experiences a sudden technical difficulty, and Christine quickly flipped her set of papers to a prepared script that goes: “Now, in keeping with the WZRB policy, presenting the most immediate and complete reports of local blood and guts, TV 30 presents what is in living colour and exclusive coverage of an attempted suicide” before reaching for the cloth bag on her lap.

The story of a woman who commits suicide on air is so sad and depressing.



Love slips away from one who’s afraid

of suffering and struggling in pain;

People say goodbye to singlehood

but regret when love doesn’t persist.

Many marriages last for decades

But many are not at all blissful;

True love can be both sweet and bitter,

otherwise it’ll not be interesting.

Let us raise our heads and lift our veils

And accept love that descends on us.

Like the sunshine and thunderstorms,

What’s natural is most beautiful;

Love is such an unique experience

that it’s worth treasuring for ever.

True Love


True love is all-embracing,

like the open fields;

True love is unstoppable,

like the wind and rain.

There’ll be a time when dark clouds

wrap over the sun;

And the brilliance is concealed

before the rain falls.

But true love stays in blossom,

with warmth and ardor;

and not even frozen ice

can cool the passion.

Whether in sunshine or rain,

wherever love is,

It will stay in the hearts with

nary a regret.

Apple Of My Eye

In this 2016 movie, Apple refers to the guide dog and the ‘eye’ alludes to Bailey’s (Avery Avendes) deteriorating eyesight.

Bailey is a talented young teenager who gradually loses her eyesight after an accident during a horse-riding practice session. Her devoted parents, Caroline (Amy Smart) and Jason (Liam McIntyre), do everything possible to help her adjust. However, Bailey is unable to connect to anyone or anything.

One day, Bailey meets Charlie (Burt Reynolds), a guide dog trainer who introduces her to Apple, an affectionate miniature horse, who becomes her new eyes – and new best friend.

Bailey is below 18, the minimum age to own a guide dog, so Apple is trained to be a companion for her and she can start to practise some of the behaviours to come to terms with her precadiment before she jumps into having a guide dog of her own.

This story is meant to be inspirational and uplifting: the reality of Bailey’s experience shows how she has to grow up quickly and deal with the fact that life happens. A lot of what she has to go through helps her learn not just to “survive” a visual impairment but how to thrive.

There is a sub-plot that shows the different experiences of other teenagers who lose their sight at different levels and how they deal with the problems with their parents, and their problems interacting with their peers,and how they can sometimes hurt others’ feelings when they don’t mean to.